Responding to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s announcement that G4S and Serco over-charged the taxpayer for tagging people who were not being monitored, Andrew Neilson, Director of Campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said:
“Today (Thurs 11th July 2013) we have seen what happens when justice is for sale. G4S, a major provider of services from prisons to probation, is now under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office at the behest of the Secretary of State for Justice. The other largest provider in the sector, Serco, has seen new prison contracts delayed and has volunteered to undergo a forensic audit of its tagging contracts.
“The shocking news of over-charging on electronic monitoring comes at a time when the Ministry of Justice is fixated on the privatisation of the vast majority of work currently done by the probation service. Serco and G4S would both be expected to be major bidders for contracts under current proposals, and whatever ministers claim about the depth of market interest, there is little doubt that without these two companies the aggressive timetable for reform is unlikely to be met.
“Given the scale and nature of the over-charging revealed today, the Secretary of State should rethink his plans to introduce yet more private sector involvement in the criminal justice system. In the face of such mounting evidence of failure, to do anything else would be blinkered in the extreme.”
Image by Schavda (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons